A major international loan exhibition featuring more than 160 ancient Chinese works of art—including renowned terracotta army warriors—is on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Synthesizing new in-depth research and archaeological discoveries of the last 50 years, the landmark exhibition Age of Empires: Chinese Art of the Qin and Han Dynasties (221 B.C.– A.D. 220) explores the unprecedented role of art in creating a new and lasting Chinese cultural identity. The works in the exhibition—extremely rare ceramics, metalwork, textiles, sculpture, painting, calligraphy, and architectural models—are drawn exclusively from 32 museums and archaeological institutions in the People’s Republic of China, and a majority of the works have never before been seen in the West. The exhibition also examines ancient China’s relationship with the outside world, Art Daily said.
Thomas P. Campbell, Director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, stated: “It is a great pleasure for us to present this magnificent assemblage of treasures from China. A project of such scale and scope could not be realized without the strong support and cooperation of lending organizations and their staffs. As the largest and most important display of Chinese art to be held in the United States in 2017, the exhibition establishes a new milestone in U.S.-China cultural exchange.”
“This exhibition is the culmination of our long history of collaboration with China that began in 1980,” said Maxwell, K. Hearn, Douglas Dillon Chairman of The Met’s Department of Asian Art. “We thank especially China’s State Council, Ministry of Culture and State Administration of Cultural Heritage, as well as both the U. S. Department of State and China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for their steadfast support and guidance.”
Jason Sun, Brooke Russell Astor Curator of Chinese Art in The Met’s Department of Asian Art, stated: “The Han Empire represents the ‘classical’ era of Chinese civilization, coinciding in importance and in time with Greco-Roman civilization in the West. Like the Roman Empire, the Han state brought together people of diverse backgrounds under a centralized government that fostered a new ‘Chinese’ identity. Even today, most Chinese refer to themselves as the ‘Han people’—the single largest ethnic group in the world. Thanks to new scholarship as well as the extraordinary artifacts unearthed by archaeologists in the past 50 years, this exhibition offers many new art-historical, cultural, and political insights. I’m delighted that Age of Empires can introduce this largely unknown era of Chinese civilization to our global audience.”